Tocotrienols: The More Potent Form of Vitamin E
Tocotrienols, a recently discovered isoforms of vitamin E, offers enhanced health benefits and a superior safety profile compared to tocopherols, more commonly available isoform. The tocotrienols naturally occur in various sources like annatto, palm fruit oil, and rice bran oil, while tocopherols are predominantly found in vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, as well as whole grains and green leafy vegetables. While tocopherols have some benefits, they may not offer the same level of health advantages as tocotrienols.
It has been observed by researchers that this common form of vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol may not be as potent an antioxidant in comparison to tocotrienols, which provides extraordinary health benefits.
The heightened potency of tocotrienols stems from their slightly different molecular structure in comparison to tocopherols. Tocotrienols have shorter tails and heads and do not penetrate deeply into the cell membrane. This structural disparity allows tocotrienols to effectively enter body cells and combat free radicals, making them 50 times more potent as antioxidants than tocopherols.
Many plants containing vitamin E consist of a combination of various tocopherols and tocotrienols. For instance, Palm has 50% delta- and gamma- tocotrienols, 25 % alpha- and beta -tocotrienols and 25% tocopherols.
Palm, as a source, offers mixed tocotrienol and tocopherol composition. However, the annatto plant stands out as the sole source of pure tocotrienol (100%). This distinction is significant because research indicates that dietary supplementation of tocotrienols has several positive effects on the overall health. When alpha-tocopherol is taken along with tocotrienols, it hinders the beneficial effects of the latter.
Tocotrienols have been found to contribute to healthy metabolic function.